LSE-backed investment platform PrimaryBid targets France, U.S. market entry: CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - British retail investment platform PrimaryBid plans to expand to France and the United States later this year after facilitating Deliveroo’s “community” share offer last week, its chief executive and co-founder told Reuters.

The tech company, which counts the London Stock Exchange Group and Fidelity among its backers, is looking to expand internationally after being involved in a number of share sales in Britain.

“We have a strategic agreement with Euronext across several countries, and we will be launching in France, where we are fully regulated currently, possibly as soon as June or July,” CEO Anand Sambasivan said.

“We also expect to launch in the U.S. later this year.”

PrimaryBid provides the tech infrastructure to connect individual investors with issuing companies and the investment banks coordinating their corporate fundraising.

Sambasivan said the deal it is discussing in France is likely to be a follow-on trade, while the U.S. deal would be an initial public offering (IPO).

PrimaryBid’s offering would fit well with the U.S. IPO market, Sambasivan said, given the potential for other well-known tech names to follow the likes of Airbnb and Roblox onto the stock market.

PrimaryBid has been used by more than 500,000 retail investors since its launch in 2012. The order book it generates per deal is anywhere between 500,000 pounds and 50 million pounds, it said.

Retail investors are usually excluded from major share sales following IPOs, which are often conducted at a discount to the market price.

Share sales by cleaning services group Compass and Ocado last year both featured retail offers hosted by PrimaryBid, while Deliveroo became the first high-profile IPO to use the firm’s services, raising 50 million pounds through its community offer.

The food delivery company’s stock market debut on March 31 proved bruising for investors, with shares dropping 30% at one stage on the first day, but PrimaryBid believes it is the type of company for which a community offer works well.

“We are trying to grow beyond the label ‘retail investors’ and focus more on community and ownership,” said Sambasivan.

Last October, PrimaryBid conducted a private funding round to raise $50 million from investors including the London Stock Exchange Group, Fidelity, OMERS Ventures and ABN AMRO.

Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise